Placing second in the final World Cup of the Olympic season held in Sierra Nevada, Spain, Australia’s Dale Begg-Smith joins an elite group by wining his fourth World Cup title. Begg-Smith needed to place ninth or higher to secure the crystal globe. First place went to Guilbault Colas from France scoring 25.66 compared to Begg-Smith with 24.77. Colas was a sure favorite heading in to Vancouver and placed 1st in the Olympic qualifications but missed a grab on his second jump and slipped to 6th. Short of Olympic success Colas has had a remarkable season with 4 wins finishing 2nd on the World Cup standings with 615 points behind the leader Begg-Smith with 693 points raking up an impressive three wins and three second place World Cup results this season. The French had a great day in Spain after licking their wounds from a less than a stellar Olympic mogul performance with Pierre Ochs taking 3rd scoring 24.14.
Canada’s golden boy in Vancouver Alexandre Bilodeau came out on fire placing 1st after qualifications but struggled in finals slipping to 8th position finishing the season 4th. The USA’s bronze medalist Bryon Wilson from Vancouver also struggled finishing 16th wrapping up his season ranked 5th just behind Bilodeau.
Begg-Smith’s 4th World Cup title cements his status as one of the sports legends. The only other mogul skier holding 4 World Cup titles was the French legend Edgar Grospiron who took 4 titles as well as an Olympic gold and two bronze medals. Maybe Dale Begg-Smith has one more games in him to beat the record! But whatever the future holds for Dale Begg-Smith he is certainly hall of fame material and has set high athletic precedent for other Australian mogul skiers to aspire to.
Taking the World Cup title for the women was Canada’s silver medalist from Vancouver Jennifer Heil. Although Heil did not start in the final event her points earned kept her clearly in the lead with 726 points over second ranked skier from the USA, Heather Mcphie with 616 season total points. America’s golden girl from Vancouver finished the season in 3rd just in front of the USA’s bronze medalist Shannon Bahrke.
The only other Australian entered besides Begg-Smith was World Cup rookie Karinya Turnbul placing 15th marking her best result to date at the elite level.
Words: Don St.Pierre